Bank of China

Lai See

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 07 August, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 07 August, 2007, 12:00am

Bank of China makes pot of gold in Olympic sponsorship

Beijing Olympics 2008 will benefit not only the nation but Bank of China as well.

BOC vice-governor Zhu Min said the bank had made a profit already from sponsoring the Games (with some estimates placing the sponsorship figure near one billion yuan).

At the forum on the economics of the Olympics to mark the one-year countdown, Mr Zhu said the sponsorship opened more business opportunities for financing the construction of Beijing Metro line, Games venues in Qingdao and Hong Kong, as well as the sale of individual investment products and financial services to other Games sponsors.

He also said the profit margins from producing Olympic souvenirs yielded much higher spreads than its core banking business.

To cater for the expected deluge of visitors (100 million domestic, five million overseas, 70,000 coaches, 10,000 officials, 20,000 athletes), BOC has installed some 600 automated teller machines and will add 1,000 more for the anticipated surge in demand.

Mr Zhu said the bank had not expected such a good return when it signed the exclusive sponsorship agreement, adding that the benefits could last longer than the Olympics year as the bank had spent some 10 billion yuan in upgrading its information technology system.

Yao plays house at Lakeville

Where will the newly minted married couple Yao Ming and Ye Li call home?

Try the Shanghai Xintindai residential project.

The tallest NBA player yesterday hosted a wedding banquet at the Shangri-La Hotel in Pudong after signing a marriage certificate at a Xuhui district office on Friday.

Yao was seen (and it is not difficult to understand how) at the Lakeville Regency sales office in June buying a residential unit for more than 10 million yuan.

Lakeville is certified as high-end for developer Shui On Land.

Tipsters make racing famous

Still with sports. Ever wonder why Hong Kong horses are so popular for non-Hong Kong gamblers? One statistic we hear is that Singaporeans contribute about a quarter of all wagers on Hong Kong ponies.

Perhaps it has something to do with the tipsters.

One executive at a Hong Kong blue chip travelled to the UK for the Hong Kong Day at the Ascot Racecourse two weekends ago. With a strong winning record in Hong Kong, he promised to buy his wife a nice candle-light dinner if he won some money in England.

Knowing only a little about UK horses, our man followed the choices of a tipsters from the BBC.

It turned out that all 12 tips crumbled and the tipster disappeared halfway through the meeting.

'That is why I believe Hong Kong is already a leading international horse racing centre - because we have some good tipsters,' he said.

Bite of Lau's firm gets bigger

Everyone seems to want to devour Chinese Estates whole. Chairman Joseph Lau Luen-hung attempted to privatise the company before receiving some fund interests and the Children's Investment Fund keeps buying its shares.

Here may be the reason why. Chinese Estates disclosed it owns more than 5 per cent of blue chip Ping An Insurance, after buying 3.4 million shares at between HK$64.56 and HK$66.50 each last Thursday.

At yesterday's close of HK$62, Chinese Estates' stake was worth HK$8.1 billion, about 30 per cent of its market capitalisation. We suppose it would be time for another round of asset appraisal at Chinese Estates.

Kitty to be penalty, Thai style

Thought Japanese moon-face icon of cuteness Hello Kitty is only for little girls. Think again.

In Bangkok, Thai police ordered sloppy officers to wear pink 'Hello Kitty' armbands for inappropriate behaviour, including littering, illegal parking, leaving the engine idle and other minor offences.

If caught, they have to wear Hong Kong's favourite cat cartoon character on their arms for a few days.

We are not sure whether Hello Kitty would object to being used as a mark of un-distinction. Then again, isn't that what she is currently.